Get a DUI Over the Fourth of July?

The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to come together with friends and family to enjoy barbecues, swimming, and of course, fireworks. However, Independence Day festivities typically involve plenty of alcohol consumption and, now that it is legal in Michigan, recreational marijuana consumption as well. Unfortunately, increased alcohol and marijuana consumption leads to an alarming rise in the number of motor vehicle accidents involving a driver who is under the influence. A recent National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration study found that, over the Fourth of July holiday period, 38% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involved a driver who was intoxicated. Because of this alarming statistic, law enforcement officials stepped up their patrols throughout the state during the holiday period, resulting in an increase in DUI charges.

I Got a DUI…What Happens Now?

Assuming that this is your first DUI and that you did not hurt anyone or cause any property damage, then you may have been released from jail the morning after. Some people may be held in jail until they are arraigned in court, which typically happens the next business day. However, every case is different, and there are many factors that will affect the outcome in your case. Some factors include:

  • If you have any prior DUI convictions,
  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest,
  • If you caused property damage, such as hitting another car or a telephone pole,
  • If minor children were in the vehicle with you, and
  • Refusing to take a breathalyzer test at the scene.

After you’ve been released from jail, you’re likely overwhelmed about the thought of what happens next. Because of the range of consequences that you may potentially face from a drunk driving charge, it is important to have a skilled and experienced DUI defense lawyer from The Kronzek Firm working for you.

What Consequences Am I Facing? 

First-time DUI offenders may face a range of consequences, including jail time, fines, probation, community service, license suspension, even court-ordered vehicle immobilization to prevent you from driving. For second- and third-time DUI offenders, the consequences become more severe, and can result in prison time and permanent license revocation.  

Can’t I Just Sleep It Off in My Car?

Did you know that you may still be at risk for getting charged with a DUI after consuming alcohol or marijuana if you try to just “sleep it off” in your car? For example, even if you are sleeping but your keys are in the ignition, you can be charged with a DUI. You can even potentially be charged with a DUI if the keys are close by, such as in your pocket, while you’re sleeping in your car while still intoxicated. That’s why it’s so important, after a night of drinking, to either stay the night or find a ride home, perhaps from a sober friend or from Uber or Lyft. 

Recently Charged with a DUI? Get an Experienced Attorney!

If you or someone you know has been recently charged with a drunk driving offense in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm at 1 800-576-6035. Our experienced and dedicated DUI defense attorneys can help you throughout this difficult period and achieve the best outcome in your case. The Kronzek Firm has spent decades helping defend against drunk driving charges throughout Michigan. We can help you too!

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Your Breathalyzer Test Could Be Wrong

Chances are, if you are pulled over by the police in Michigan for suspected driving under the influence, you will be worried about what happens next. The officer will likely want to test your alcohol level. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test is commonly used to see if a person has been drinking recently. The BAC test shows levels between 0% (no alcohol) to over 0.4% (a potentially fatal level). 

BAC for Drivers Under Michigan Law 

In Michigan, it is a crime for a driver, who is age 21 or older, to have a BAC of 0.08% or greater if behind the wheel. If a driver is under the age of 21, a value of 0.02% or greater is a crime. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, drivers at both 0.02% and 0.08% BAC levels are at a greater risk of having an accident: 

  • BAC 0.02%: Drivers are “tipsy” and typically will have a slight loss of judgment and altered mood
  • BAC 0.08%: Drivers at this BAC level have issues detecting danger, are unable to make sound decisions, and may take increased risks.

Blood Tests Are The Most Reliable Indicator of BAC 

Blood tests tend to be the most reliable way to judge the levels of alcohol in a person’s body. There are less environmental factors that need to be considered when interpreting a blood test. Typically, the blood tests are reliable, but not always. Sometimes, there are problems with blood tests too. Here are some reasons:

  1. The blood sample can be taken too late, affecting the levels either increasing or decreasing.
  2. The medical professional could be using an expired test kit
  3. There could be improper handling or storage of the blood sample 
  4. Some medications can influence the accuracy of the test
  5. The sample could have been contaminated 
  6. Some medical conditions affect the results of blood tests
  7. Sometimes the particular way the blood is analyzed can skew the test results
  8. Sometimes, the testing equipment is not properly calibrated

Despite this list, blood tests are still more accurate than roadside breath tests. 

Roadside BAC Tests, and Other Breathalyzers Tests, Are Often Inaccurate 

The breathalyzer tests at the police station tend to be more sophisticated than handheld devices used at the side of the road. However, both of these types of tests are less accurate than the blood tests. That is because breathalyzer tests can be affected by a lot of different factors. These are:

  1. Poor calibration and mantaintence
  2. Some over-the-counter and prescription medications 
  3. Presence of saliva or vomit 
  4. Recent use of mouthwash 
  5. Consumption of food with sugar alcohols or cooked with alcohol 
  6. Other environmental factors

Police officers in Michigan do not use a breathalyzer brand device. Instead, they use a different testing device at the police station. It is called a datamaster. 

The Kronzek Firm can help you answer your questions about your DUI charge

Our skilled drunk driving defense team is here to help you. If you are searching for expert legal representation in the lower peninsula of michigan, our firm has represented thousands of people in michigan. From lansing, eaton county, jackson county and clinton county, to livingston county, ionia county and jackson county, we’ve gotten great results for our clients. To set up your free consultation today, call 866 – 7 No Jail (866-766-5245). We’re available 24/7, including nights and weekends for crisis intervention.

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Is the Weed Smell Enough To Search My Car?

The smell of marijuana used to indicate there might be illegal activity taking place. With the recent legalization of weed for recreational use in Michigan, things are not as cut and dry as they used to be. The question of whether the smell of weed is enough to search a vehicle in Michigan is important because a search that is conducted without sufficient probable cause is in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Without overly complicating things, keep in mind that presently in 2022, marijuana is still illegal under federal law so a stop and search may well be justified for a violation of the federal drug law. 

The Automobile Exception to Searches 

Usually, a search warrant is necessary to search someone’s person, home, or vehicle. So says the 4th Amendment to the U S Constitution. Here in Michigan, we have an exception to that rule. An officer is permitted to search your vehicle without a warrant if they have already stopped you and that has a reason to believe something illegal is occurring. Under Michigan law, we criminal attorneys refer to that as “the automobile exception” to the search warrant requirement. 

This exception exists because vehicles are easily moveable from one place to another. It is because of that fact that there is less privacy afforded to vehicles. This is not the only part of the automobile exception but it’s the part that is relevant to our present discussion. 

How Could This Exception Apply? 

Since marijuana is now mostly legal, smelling or seeing marijuana itself can’t be a reason to pull you over, however, there is what is called a “pretext stop”. In Lansing, Ann Arbor, and all over Michigan, cops are able to pull you over for any evidence of unlawful activity. This could be something like the light above your license plate being out, or not having a seatbelt on. And always remember that the legalization of weed has restrictions on age, quantity, impaired driving, and drugged driving. Cops in Lansing, Ionia, Gratiot County, and Lenawee County are well known for making stops for impaired driving. 

A pretext stop gives a legal reason for you to be pulled over, but what happens after that can be up to the discretion of the cop. That means if they have a reason to suspect something illegal is going on, they can conduct a warrantless search, under the automobile exception to the search warrant requirement. 

So how does the smell of weed impact this? Well, often that smell is enough to be probable cause for a search. Even though marijuana is legal, officers are still on the lookout for drugged driving. The smell of marijuana will make officers suspicious, and you can still be charged with Operating with the Presence of a Controlled Substance (OWPCS).

Unfortunately, there aren’t clear guidelines on when the smell of weed is enough probable cause for a search, so a lot is left up to what an officer does within the specific details of a situation. Officers are taught that the smell of marijuana isn’t enough by itself, but they can couple it with a belief that the person is lying or is under the influence to have enough probable cause. 

As you can see, something as simple as having a brake light out can lead to a drugged driving arrest. These pretext stops can happen in Jackson, Midland County, Eaton County, or Lansing, and can lead to big problems. 

What Does This Mean For You? 

The most important thing for you to do is to remember your rights under the Fourth Amendment. If your vehicle is searched and you don’t believe there was a valid reason for the search, you should seek experienced legal counsel right away to help you fight for your rights. 

Since the laws are still so unclear, unfortunately, users of medical or recreational marijuana need to be careful. Our proven criminal defense attorneys are here to defend your case, but we know the best thing to do is avoid charges altogether. Here’s our best advice: do not drive a vehicle after smoking weed or consuming any amount of alcohol. 

If you do find yourself faced with drug crime charges or have been subject to a search without consent, we at The Kronzek Firm are ready to defend your rights. We have been helping clients defend against criminal charges for decades. Call us today 24/7 for a free initial consultation at 866-766-5245.

Posted in Drugged Driving, For Your Information

Happy Holidays From The Kronzek Firm!

It’s that time of year again – the season of gift giving, magical lights, and time spent with loved ones. Here at The Kronzek Firm we’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, and a wonderful new year!

We also understand that not everyone’s holidays are always merry and bright. With instances of drunk and drugged driving increasing during the holidays, this can be a tough time for some people.

If you need help this holiday season with a DUI, OWI or drugged driving charge, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7NO JAIL). We’re here round the clock to help with your legal needs, including on holidays if you have an emergency.

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First Time DUIs Can Soon be Expunged in Michigan!

In October of 2020, Governor Granholm signed significant changes into law regarding the types of crimes that can be expunged in Michigan. Referred to as the “most expansive version of this law in the country,” by John Cooper, executive director of Safe & Just Michigan, the new ‘automatic record clearing law’ allows Michigan to join California, Utah and Pennsylvania as states with controversial automatic clearing laws.

A lego man sweeping up debris, like the process of expunging a DUI from your criminal record.

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Drunk Driving During The Pandemic – How Covid 19 is Affecting DUIs During Lockdown

When Michigan’s governor first told people to “stay home and stay safe”, the DUI numbers here in Michigan (and pretty much everywhere else in the state) dropped significantly. For example, arrests in Lansing were way down. And we weren’t the only state where that happened. In Missouri, 293 people were arrested for drunk driving in March of 2019, but during the same time in 2020 the number of DUI arrests dropped to only 94. In Nebraska the cops only made 4 DUI arrests on St. Patrick’s Day, which was the lowest number that state has seen in over 15 years. And in Hawaii, police made an average of 3 drunk driving arrests per week during March, which is a major reduction on their usual numbers.

A close up of a man's face wearing a mask, with corona virus molecules visible around him.

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Driving in Michigan After The Legalization of Weed – It’s a Hazy Subject!

The word "420" made up of lots of tiny little pot leaves.

There was a time in the not too distant past here in Michigan where in order to prove that you were guilty of drugged driving, all they had to do was prove to the court that there was any amount of marijuana in your system while you were behind the wheel. But those days have come and gone. Since the legalization of first medical marijuana, and then later recreational marijuana, a lot has changed with regards to the burden of proof for Michigan’s county prosecutors. 

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Can You Really Fool The Breath Test Machine by Putting a Penny in Your Mouth?

A pile of pennies, some old and dark, some new and shiny.

You’ve probably heard a whole boatload of weird urban legends in your time about how to avoid a DUI arrest. Things like carrying mouthwash in your car and using some right before the officer walks up to your window (doesn’t work!). Or another false one that suggests chewing gum can help you fool the breathalyzer (which is actually a DataMaster machine).. But one of the most popular myths when it comes to beating the breath test machine is the one that says you can fool a breathalyzer by sucking on a penny. So is it true?

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How Michigan’s Ongoing ‘Breathalyzer Fraud’ Investigation Affects You!

A blackboard with the word "update" written on it, with a person's hand holding a clock

The Michigan State Police are currently investigating the third party vendor (Intoximeters) responsible for servicing and maintaining the 203 DataMaster DMT machines in use across the state of Michigan. DataMaster DMTs are the type of machine Michigan law enforcement uses to breath test potentially drunk drivers once they’re back at the station after an arrest. Although roadside breath tests are used to help officers determine if someone is likely intoxicated, those results aren’t admissible in court. Only the results of the DataMaster test, taken back at the police station or jail, can be used as evidence in court. And now even those are in question

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Drugged Driving Can Include Driving Under The Influence of Legal Painkillers as Well!

A pile of prescription pills in their packaging.

When people hear about someone being charged with drugged driving, they usually assume that the driver facing charges were high on heroin, cocaine, meth, or some other illegal substance. (And then there’s weed, which is legal to use recreationally in Michigan, but you still can’t drive under the influence!) But what about legal painkillers?

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